The Unicorn is holding a mini-festival of Japanese theatre from 11 March-6 April. Oha! Japan comprises a production by a visiting Japanese theatre company and a new play about the life of a leading Japanese children’s writer.
Oha! Japan begins with Hello Maru-Chan (11-30 March), a heart-warming story performed by one of Japan’s best-known children’s theatre companies, Kazenoko Theatre, using puppets created by Australian puppet-master Peter Wilson. The tale centres on Maru-Chan, a little girl made of paper who is born into an exquisite paper world. As she grows up, she explores the world around her and meets many fantastic creatures and objects along the way. This is Kazenoko Theatre’s first visit to the UK.
The second production in the festival is the premiere of a new play by Mike Kenny, The Twin Stars (14 March-6 April), which has been commissioned by the Unicorn. Part biography, part fantasy, the show intertwines the early life of one of Japan’s foremost children’s writers, Kenji Miyazawa, with the fantastical world of his first story, The Twin Stars, an exhilarating galactic adventure about two stars who become embroiled in a cosmic battle between constellations.
As part of the festival, on Saturday 22 March the Unicorn will hold a community day with events and activities to experience and explore the world of Japanese culture, including sushi making demonstrations, manga drawing classes, Taiko drumming and a post show discussion about how the Japanese and English see each other.
Oha! Japan continues the Unicorn’s commitment to presenting work by leading international theatre companies for young people, following last year’s visit by Danish company Gruppe 38 and a Swedish theatre festival in 2006.
Hello Maru-Chan is suitable for theatregoers aged four and over, while The Twin Stars welcomes those aged seven and over.